On Imperfect Prophets and a Great President

On Imperfect Prophets and a Great President November 3, 2021

 

The L.A. Temple
The Los Angeles California Temple by night
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

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A new installment of Kyler Rasmussen’s Bayesian reflections has just gone up on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:

 

Estimating the Evidence Episode 18: On Imperfect Prophets

[Editor’s Note: This is the eighteenth in a series of 23 essays summarizing and evaluating Book of Mormon-related evidence from a Bayesian statistical perspective. See the FAQ at the end of the introductory episode for details on methodology.]

 

This in addition to the three items that went up yesterday:

 

Nibley Lectures: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 9: “The Worth of Souls Is Great” D&C 18-19

During 1978, 1979, and 1980, Hugh Nibley taught a Doctrine and Covenants Sunday School class. Cassette recordings were made of these classes and some have survived and were recently digitized by Steve Whitlock. Most of the tapes were in pretty bad condition. The original recordings usually don’t stop or start at the beginning of the class and there is some background noise. Volumes vary, probably depending upon where the recorder was placed in the room. Many are very low volume but in most cases it’s possible to understand the words. In a couple of cases the ends of one class were put on some space left over from a different class. There’s some mixup around D&C90-100 that couldn’t be figured out so those recordings are as they were on the tapes. Even with these flaws and missing classes, we believe these these will be interesting to listen to and valuable to your Come, Follow Me study program. This week we have three Lectures relevant to the January 25-31 Come, Follow Me lesson.

 

Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 46 “When We Obtain Any Blessing from God, It Is by Obedience” D&C 129-132

The Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 46, “When We Obtain Any Blessing from God, It Is by Obedience,” on D&C 129-132, featured Neal Rappleye, Jasmin Rappleye, and Hales Swift. Liberated from commercial and other interruptions, it was extracted from the 3 October 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show.  The complete show may be heard at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-October-3-2021/.  Moreover, the Interpreter Radio Show can be heard each and every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.

 

And this, kindly contributed by Jonn Claybaugh:

 

Come, Follow Me — D&C Study and Teaching Helps Lesson 46, November 8-November 14, D&C 129-132 — “When We Obtain Any Blessing from God, It Is by Obedience”

 

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Driving down from Solvang yesterday, we spent a bit of time in Santa Barbara.  Flawless weather.  Beautiful place.  Then, going a bit further, we drove by a beach campground just north of Ventura that I remember very well.  Here’s the story:

 

My parents and I were in our camper or motorhome there on the beach.  I recall that it was dark; I seem to recall that I was asleep and it seems that perhaps all of us were.  Suddenly, there was loud and urgent knocking at our door.  It was a ranger or park official, telling us that there had been a massive earthquake in Alaska and that a “tidal wave,” a tsunami, was headed our way.  I recall him saying that it might be as high as two hundred feet.  Needless to say, everybody cleared off the beach and out of the immediate area as soon as they were able.

 

This was the 1964 Alaska earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan Earthquake or the Good Friday Earthquake.  27 March 1964.  At magnitude 9.2 and lasting fully four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, it still ranks as the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in North America and as the second most powerful earthquake recorded in the history of the world.  (There have, I believe, been larger earthquakes in prehistoric times, but this one was huge.  Please recall that the Richter magnitude scale is logarithmic, which means that each one-point increase on the scale represents a ten-fold increase in the magnitude of the quake.  The enormously destructive and lethal Indian Ocean quake of 2004 came in at 9.1.  The great San Francisco quake of 1906 was probably at or just under 8.0.)

 

After we returned home, we learned that my brother, ten years older than I, hearing of the earthquake, had immediately raced with his surfboard and one or two friends out to Santa Monica, where they spent the night on their boards out on the water, eagerly awaiting The Wave.

 

Well, fortunately for my brother and his pals, the 200-foot tsunami never materialized.  There was considerable damage in the Pacific Northwest, and even some damage in Hawaii. Twelve people were killed in Crescent City, California, including four children.  Some boats were harmed along the coast near Los Angeles, but the wave, when it came to southern California, wasn’t much more than a bump.

 

Still, it was a memorable evening for me, and a horrible night for too many.

 

We were also able to spend some time at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley.  This was at least my third visit to the Library, which is also the burial place of President Reagan and his wife, Nancy Wilson Reagan, the First Lady.  I was actually at the library, with my friend and current Interpreter Foundation associate Ed Snow, on the day that President Reagan died, 5 June 2004.

 

It was good to be reminded, yet again, of a time when the presidency still seemed a dignified office — as Reagan himself often said, and as he is quoted at the Library as saying, an office larger than any of its transient occupants.  It was good to remember a good and decent man who loved his country and fought for principle.  And, with that, I will bite my tongue.  I don’t idealize or sentimentalize the Reagan years — I lived through them — but they were, in many, many ways, a much better time than this ignorant present.

 

Last night, with the widow of our former branch president in Cairo and her daughter and with an Egyptian artist friend and two of his daughters — people that we have known since, as newlyweds, we first went to live in Egypt — we enjoyed dinner practically under the shadow of the Los Angeles California Temple (my temple, growing up) at the Sunnin Lebanese Restaurant on Westwood Boulevard.  The food was excellent.  The company even more so.  Lots of stories and lots of laughter.

 

I often think, in connection with such gatherings as these, of such passages as this, from Doctrine and Covenants 130:2:

 

And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.

 

And I hope that I can be forgiven if I also think of these lines, from the late John Denver:

 

I’ve been lately thinking about my life’s time
All the things I’ve done, how it’s been.
And I can’t help believing in my own mind
I know I’m gonna hate to see it end.
I’ve seen a lot of sunshine, slept out in the rain,
Spent a night or two all on my own.
I’ve known my lady’s pleasures, had myself some friends,
And spent a night or two in my own home.
I have to say it now, it’s been a good life, all in all.
It’s really fine to have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire and watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady sit and pass the pipe around.
Talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in.
How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care.
How long it’s been since yesterday and what about tomorrow?
What about our dreams and all the memories we share?
The days they pass so quickly now, nights are seldom long.
Time around me whispers when it’s cold.
The changes somehow frighten me, still I have to smile.
It turns me on to think of growing old.
For though my life’s been good to me there’s still so much to do,
So many things my mind’s never known.
I’d like to raise a family, I’d like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon, yes I would.
I have to say it now, it’s been a good life, all in all.
It’s really fine to have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire and watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady sit and watch the sun go down.
Talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in.
How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care.
How long it’s been since yesterday and what about tomorrow?
What about our dreams and all the memories we share?

 

Posted from Newport Beach, California

 

 


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